Keep watching southern Iraq.The take-over of Amara is a very bad sign for Iraq.
Back in early September, I said to Watch Southern Iraq as an indicator on whether Iraq has a viable government.
Since we can't trust the Bush administration to give us an honest assessment of how the war's going, I am going to use southern Iraq as my barometer.
The militia take-over of Amara is a very bad sign.
Attack on Iraq City Shows Militia Power
BAGHDAD, Oct. 20 — Hundreds of militiamen linked to the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr battled local police and members of a rival Shiite militia in the southeastern city of Amara today, destroying police stations and seizing control of entire neighborhoods, in apparent retaliation for the arrest of one of their fighters.
As of this writing, it seems like Arara has cooled-down and the central government is re-taking control of the city.
Maybe this is a one-off event but I doubt that. I'm no military or Iraq expert but, it seems to me, that southern Iraq seems like a good test case for Bush's goal of Jeffersonian democracy in Iraq will hold as we pull out.